Sinks Add Life to Old Copper and Community

November 18, 2010

Native Trails sinks, bath tubs, and range hoods are truly things of beauty, and they contribute nicely to the three Es of the Triple Bottom Line (economy, environment, and social equity). Naomi Neilson Howard, CEO and President of Native Trails, works with artisans in Mexico who are now able to sustain their own businesses thanks to her work.

The art of creating copper bowls is not new. It shows up in folk art in Mexico, and can be traced to ancient roots. Native Trails sinks, tubs, and hoods are the result of a process that changes copper wire and scraps (see photo below) into beautiful fixtures. The reclaimed copper is melted and formed into sheets. These sheets are then formed into the fixtures. All are hand made, with some sinks requiring an amazing 30,000 hammer strikes.

But the fixtures are only part of the story. Due to the success of the company, Howard is able to improve the lives of the artisans who create them. Many have been able to increase the size of their own shops from home operations to small factories. Howard offers no interest loans to the artisans for expansion. Her work has brought several families out of poverty and made them business owners and employers. She says the artisans also develop a sense of self-esteem and pride in their work.

Native Trails also carriers FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified and reclaimed lumber vanities. Howard says they are running several specials to help buyers out in this tough economy.

Visit their on-line showroom for more pictures and details on the specials now being offered.

Photos courtesy of Native Trails.



Dawn Killough

has over 15 years experience in the construction industry and is the author of Green Building Design 101, an e-book available from Amazon. She is a LEED AP and Certified Green Building Advisor, and has worked on the LEED Certification of three projects in Salem, Oregon.